The people around here not from New England don’t get. They secretly mock me. I try to explain, they say they understand based on some broader concept of simply missing that which we love, but they don’t understand the magic of it. I miss Fall. That’s right. I am not even going to call it Autumn. I am calling it Fall.
What’s even funnier about it is that I am missing things I thought I never would. I miss starting a new year of school, and though I don’t necessarily miss the exams and onslaught of papers, I miss the friends sharing a summer’s worth of adventures with one another; the excitement of slipping into a new routine just as summer started to get boring; the prospects of having advanced one more year, because remember, growing up in America, the year starts in September. None of this January nonsense.
More specifically though, I am missing Fall in New England. Apple cider and apple cider donuts; pumpkin carving and Halloween; leaves changing color and falling from trees; that perfect sweatshirt and pants weather that keeps you comfortable while still enjoying the great outdoors, the oppressive humidity of a New England summer simply a fading memory.
Life seems to slow down in Fall, leaves gently easing their way to the ground, children in no hurry to get home from school. I spent my last Fall in the States at the Franklin Public Library and around downtown Franklin more than ever before in my life. I was doing last minute work, or simply hanging around, too antsy to stay at home. I was also teaching little kids how to swim at Boston Sports Club. I loved finishing up lessons and coming out into the crisp air after having spent hours in the pool. Not to mention always stopping by for one of the myriad of “Fall-flavored” drinks at Dunkin’ Donuts. It was all going at the perfect speed. Probably good preparation for the Kenyan speed of life at which I now operate.
I walk back from the computer lab every day over a path littered with fallen and dried palm fronds and other large leaves. They crunch beneath my feet. The sound is the same, but the spirit just isn’t there. I don’t see Kenyans raking these leaves into piles and jumping into them. The students just burn them. The leaves are just rubbish here. Maybe I will show them the magic of these fallen leaves one day.